Grand Cypress Golf Club is home to 45 holes designed by Jack Nicklaus, a golf academy, and the Villas of Grand Cypress. Grand Cypress has won a number resort and other awards including being recognized in 2010 by Golf World in the "Top 50 Resort Courses." Each of the courses (East, South, North, and New) has it's own unique characteristics and personality. For example, the New course is a links style course designed to pay tribute to some of holes of Scotland's St Andrews Old Course. The North and South courses both have terraced fairways with tall shaggy mounds and elevated and well guarded greens – as such, course management and target golf are rewarded. The East course is the shortest with more generous fairways and less bunkering which provides an opportunity to score well. The North course claims to be the hardest by 3 to 4 stokes and the South has the most challenging greens.
When we visited Orlando in February 2010, we played the North and South courses and the South course was our favorite. Here is a link to our review of the North Course. We found the greens to be very challenging and well guarded, forgiving fairways but tough approach shots, and some dog legs, water, and bunkers to keep you on your game. The Grand Cypress South nine is rated a little easier than North, but we found it a tad harder, a little more demanding, and requiring some target-style golf.
We also liked the variety of the layout and found some really fun holes. For example, if you're a strategic golfer, you'll love #2 which is a 570 yard par 5 with a risk reward shot off the tee box and then it demands both distance and control all the way to the green. And #6 is a great dog leg left around a lake with a very narrow approach to an uphill green with no room for error.
The greens were fast and in excellent condition, the fairways were generous and in good shape, and bunkers have soft sand and most are pretty steep faced. Bottom line, this is a course you need to add to your list if you are golfing in the Orlando area.
We played Grand Cypress as part of a fun filled seven days in Orlando where we rode in an Indy race car, saw alligators on an air-boat ride, sky dived in a wind tunnel, flew a 1946 World War II fighter trainer, para-sailed, swam with the manatees, ate too much good food, enjoyed some fun nightlife, golfed 9 different courses, and got very little sleep! Read our Orlando Vacation article to learn more about this adventure packed vacation.
The New Course is a beautifully designed Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course that opened in 1988 to great fanfare. Inspired by his great performances through the years at St. Andrews Old Course, Jack pays homage here to the birthplace of golf. A "links-style" design to its greatest degree, reminders of St. Andrews appear throughout the course with 150-plus bunkers, elevated tees and greens, stone walls, a winding burn (including a stone bridge crossing), and seven huge, double greens. Plus, replicas of the world-famous first and 18th holes at St. Andrews Old Course and Nicklaus' version of the Road Hole. All in all, it's quite a tribute to the Old Course. Impeccable playing conditions year-round for every caliber of golfer. The preceding comments are thanks to GolfOrlando.com.